Corel packages applications with Linux that are targeted at federal PC users

Corel packages applications with Linux that are targeted at federal PC users

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

Corel Corp. has begun delivering shrink-wrapped CD-ROMs of its Linux operating system with several applications targeted at federal PC users.

George Sabongui, head of Corel's government sales, said the desktop PC package includes Corel's WordPerfect word processor, which he said has a 40 percent share of the federal market.

'Government agencies are interested in more control of their information environment so they can improve reliability, stability and security,' Sabongui said. 'Linux meets those needs while dramatically reducing cost.'

Market researcher International Data Corp. of Framingham, Mass., has predicted that the Linux client-server operating system will grow at a compounded rate of more than 25 percent per year through 2003. All other OSes will grow at a 10 percent projected compound annual rate over the same period, IDC said.

Dan Kusnetzky, IDC's program director for operating environments and serverware, said he expects that by 2004 Linux will be the third-ranking OS, after Microsoft Windows 9x and Windows 2000.

First OS is free

Corel's initial Linux release is a free download from the Web, at www.corel.com. The company has tallied about 259,000 download attempts. The package consists of Linux from the Debian Project's implementation plus Corel's enhanced K Desktop Environment and three Corel utilities: Install Express, Update and File Manager. A basic version of Corel's WordPerfect 8 for Linux is a separate, free download.

For $59.95, Corel sells a three-CD standard package, which augments the downloadable version with 20 Bitstream fonts, an ICQ freeware-compatible instant messaging client, the Adobe Acrobat reader, WordPerfect 8 and the Netscape Communicator browser, plus 30 days of installation support via e-mail.

An $89.95 deluxe version comes with a full version of WordPerfect 8 for Linux, BRU Backup software and Corel WordPerfect 8 clip art. Installation support is free for 30 days via phone or e-mail. A 90-day free subscription to an eFax Plus service converts fax messages to text files and routes them to e-mail inboxes.

Derik Belair, a Corel product manager, said the company has recorded between 1.5 million and 2 million downloads of the basic Linux version of WordPerfect. About 149,000 users have registered the word processing software, indicating that Linux is getting some use on desktop PCs.

Corel has licensed for WordPerfect a font server from Bitstream Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. The Linux font server can render Adobe PostScript Type 1 fonts on-screen and in print, in addition to TrueType and other standard font formats.

Corel said the font management is comparable to what is now available for Windows or Mac OS.

Working with the Debian developer consortium, at www.debian.org, Belair said, Corel spiffed up the Linux interface while Debian handled the back-end issues. He said Corel's 10 years of Windows software design helped the company come up with an interface that will not intimidate Windows users.

An alpha version of a full office suite for Linux has just been released. CorelDraw 9, now available only for Windows, will come out in Linux form in July. Corel will make its improvements to the Linux OS freely available to developers, Belair said.

Front seat drivers

The company is encouraging the development of device drivers, he said. When one maker in a product category commits to Linux, such as Eastman Kodak Co. with its Linux drivers for digital cameras and ATI Technologies Inc. of Thornhill, Ont., with its video card drivers, others soon follow, Belair said.

After the initial Linux announcement, he said, sound and video card makers Creative Labs Inc. of Milpitas, Calif., and S3 Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., began working on Linux drivers for their products.

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